Develop a Preliminary Bibliography

Learning Objectives

  • Develop a preliminary bibliography of your sources.

Preliminary Bibliography

A desk with a computer, notebook, newspapers, books, and papers

Your preliminary bibliography should include all the resources you used to research your speech.

Throughout the research process, you will find articles, books, websites, images, etc., that relate to your topic and might eventually be included in your speech. As part of your note-taking, keep a list of each of these sources, even if you don’t ultimately end up using all of them. This is called a preliminary or working bibliography.

Developing a preliminary bibliography will help you keep track of your various sources and gather broad knowledge on your topic. It also helps you build a list of possible sources without the pressure of determining yet whether or how they will fit in your final speech draft.

Since your preliminary bibliography will contain sources that do not end up in your speech, it’s important to keep track of which sources do make the cut. Keep track of the sources that end up in your speech by marking them clearly in your preliminary bibliography. This will remind you to transfer these sources to the Works Cited document.

Works Cited

As you note the research in your preliminary bibliography, next you will decide which sources were actually used in creating the final outline. A Works Cited (or References) bibliography should be submitted as a part of your final speech outline. Every school is different in terms of the style of reference entries they prefer. Check with your instructor before completing. For our purposes, we will focus on the two major ones used at most colleges and universities, MLA and APA formats.